Baseball is finally ready to start its season on Thursday night!
We posted our usual MLB Preview Guide a few weeks ago with the below win total predictions for the abbreviated MLB season. We are ready to go and could have our first pick on opening night!
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Bobby Dalton also expects to post regular MLB updates and has his season package available with a great history of success on the diamond.
Here are the win totals we posted in early July:
BEST BET: UNDER 31½ – Philadelphia Phillies: A third of the games for the Phillies will be against the Nats and the Braves, clear NL contenders. Add in 10 more games with a formidable Mets rotation and wins will be tough to come by for a limited offensive team. The Marlins pitching staff even offers some promise while the AL East draw won’t do the Phillies any favors. New acquisition Zack Wheeler has already questioned being able to finish the season with his first child on the way while putting the DH in the NL isn’t likely to benefit the Philadelphia lineup as much as other teams in the division with better offensive depth. Aaron Nola regressed last season and returning to his 2018 form isn’t likely in a short season as he has been a very slow starter with a 5.68 ERA in March/April in his career. Rookie Spencer Howard is likely the leading candidate for the fifth spot in the rotation with Jake Arrieta and Zach Eflin at best average options after Nola. The Philadelphia bullpen is already littered with injuries for a unit that had limited promise to start with. 31½ doesn’t sound like an overwhelming figure, but the Phillies were just a .500 team in 2019 and haven’t topped .500 in a season since the 2011 campaign.
BEST BET: OVER 30½ Wins – Milwaukee Brewers: The Brewers don’t have many household names in the rotation following rising star Brandon Woodruff but the Brewers should be well-suited for a short campaign as they can lean on the deep and versatile bullpen. Milwaukee is 55 games above .500 the past three years combined and last season made its great late season run without Christian Yelich. The Cubs and Pirates are surely candidates to decline in 2020 compared to last season while drawing a third of the schedule against the AL Central while completely avoiding the NL East and NL West teams is a huge plus for Milwaukee’s chances at returning to the playoffs for a third straight season. While Craig Counsell’s creativity may take a hit with the implementation of the DH in the NL this season, the Brewers have viable DH candidates in an aging Ryan Braun and defensively challenged Keston Hiura, while sluggers Ryon Healy and Logan Morrison are also in camp looking to possibly earn a spot behind new addition Justin Smoak. Another newcomer Avisail Garcia also could reemerge as a major contributor after battling injuries the past two seasons in Chicago and Tampa Bay.
BEST BET: OVER 31 – Arizona Diamondbacks: The Dodgers are certainly the favorites in the West but Arizona held its own in that series last season and went 39-32 after the All Star break in 2019 despite falling out of the playoff race with a mid-September slide. Madison Bumgarner is the high-profile addition to lead the staff but Robbie Ray, Zac Gallen, and Luke Weaver give the Diamondbacks a solid rotation top-to-bottom. The schedule will also work out well for Arizona with 30 games ahead vs. the Rockies, Padres, and Giants, division foes that Arizona could have done much better against last season. Houston and Oakland will be difficult draws from the AL but that division crossover will also bring four games with Seattle and will mean much lesser travel than the team is accustomed to. Arizona has had three consecutive winning seasons, even in years dealing with a historically great Dodgers team and a more formidable Colorado team than is expected this season. The Rockies have a bit of rebound potential this season but the Giants aren’t as likely to hang around as long this season, while San Diego remains a team with many question marks. The Dodgers will also lean on three ultra-young starters behind Clayton Kershaw which could mean some inconsistency and more work for the bullpen.
BEST BET: UNDER 31½ – Boston Red Sox: The 2018 Red Sox were a historically great team with 108 wins and a World Series title. Last season Boston dropped to just 84 wins and the climb downward could continue in the abbreviated 2020 season. New York and Tampa Bay look like perhaps the top two AL contenders and those two teams will fill a third of Boston’s schedule, teams the Red Sox combined to go 12-26 against last season. Last season’s #5 starter for the Red Sox Eduardo Rodriguez is now the staff ace by default while Nathan Eovaldi and Collin McHugh back from injuries and an aging Martin Perez off a season overachievement will need to fill out the rotation. Subtracting Mookie Betts isn’t going to spell improvement as the lineup is much less intimidating and will also draw 20 games against the pitching-rich NL East as well, with Boston only 10-10 in interleague play last season. Boston went 21-11 vs. the AL Central last season and had a winning record against four of five AL West teams and now has all of those opponents erased. 31½ sounds low for a popular Red Sox team accustomed to being in contention but winning 32 games means a 53.3% winning percentage for at team that won at a 51.9% clip last season.
BEST BET: UNDER 34 – Minnesota Twins: Given that the Twins will play the Royals and Tigers 20 times and capable but not overly formidable Cleveland and Chicago squads 20 times, many will call for a great season in Minnesota. The Twins were clear overachievers last season with 101 wins however in a historically great home run season. Minnesota got unexpected starting pitching last season and now is turning to three veterans that have battled injuries and inconsistency in recent years to replace much of that success. Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi also are regression candidates at the top of the rotation and the short summer camp will likely mean more reliance on a bullpen that lacked quality depth last season. The NL Central draw is a tricky one with likely four quality teams in that group and the Twins were just 8-12 in interleague games last season. Minnesota still lost its season series with the Indians last year and was a fortunate team in one-run games with a 23-12 record. A huge 21-8 May buoyed the season with Minnesota a more average performer in the mid-summer months before another embarrassing playoff sweep. Josh Donaldson is a high profile addition but several returnees might struggle to match their 2019 pace.
BEST BET: OVER 28½ – Texas Rangers: The new ballpark will be an unknown factor but there remains a lot to like about the Texas lineup. Adding Corey Kluber gives the Rangers a potential ace to match with the quality results Lance Lynn and Mike Minor have provided while Kyle Gibson remains a pitcher with a tantalizing upside. The rotation is high on experience which could help to offset some of the uncertainty in the bullpen. The case for the Rangers also hinges on clear paths to decline from Houston and Oakland. The Astros will remain formidable but two expected starters in the rotation haven’t even reported yet and everyone will be looking to spoil Houston’s season. Oakland also has some regression potential after back-to-back 97-win seasons. The five projected starters for Oakland won a combined 30 games last season and while the bullpen can carry the team it may be a tougher path. Seattle looks like one of the worst teams in baseball this season as Texas could produce a much better record in that series this season. The NL West interleague draw also offers some matchup and travel benefits to the Rangers as this team that was 48-42 at the All Star break last season has the potential to be a sleeper in the AL playoff race. Texas should at least have a good shot for a .500 campaign following three straight losing seasons.